Argentina
‎Re-election of Alberto Fernández in Argentina impacted by the First Lady's photo scandal
‎Photos revealed the first lady Fabiola Yañez celebrating her birthday amid quarantine requirements. The negative impact on the polls could take the president out of the race in 2023.‎

Argentina is immersed in a major scandal following the revelation of First Lady Fabiola Yáñez's birthday celebration at the presidential residence amid strict quarantine requirements dictated by President Alberto Fernández last year. ‎

‎The issue has been on the agenda for weeks and notoriously damaged Fernandez's image three weeks before the primary elections. Various ‎‎polls‎‎ reflect the loss and suggest that the ruling party would lose one in four votes.‎

‎In addition, 22 percent of the individuals questioned who had planned on voting for the Frente de Todos will end up voting for the opposition, according to the polls. ‎

‎But the consequences could not only be reflected in the upcoming mid-term elections, but also endanger the chances for Alberto Fernández to be re-elected in 2023.‎

Before Fabiola's case impacted the scenario, Fernandez's immediate links, now ‎battered by the political environment‎‎, proposed that the legislative election was a plebiscite of the management and that a triumph of the Frente de Todos in the province of Buenos Aires would automatically activate the re-election of Alberto.

But the consequences could not only be reflected in the upcoming mid-term elections, but also endanger the chances for Alberto Fernández to be re-elected in 2023.‎

‎The arguments from the presidential circle were along these lines: Peronism has not won any midterm elections in the province since 2005, not when Cristina Kirchner was in power (2009 and 2013) nor when she headed the list (2017), so a win this year, amid the weight of the pandemic on the government's shoulders, would boost Alberto's chances. ‎

‎But Fabiola's case blew up the President's plans and the polls have already shown an ‎‎impact to his image‎‎ due to the scandal. The case has even begun to hit the Frente de Todos as well as the candidacy of the leader who heads the official list in the province of Buenos Aires, Victoria Tolosa Paz. As a consequence, Alberto Fernández has planned to tour the interior of the country this week.‎

‎The President's hypothesis was not shared in the rest of the ruling alliance. The sector headed by the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa as well as the Kirchner arm led by Cristina Kirchner, said this election was not a plebiscite of the presidential administration, but an opportunity to get more deputies to move forward with the necessary reforms to recompose the social and economic situation.‎

‎The issue faced by the head of state is that his main partners in the ruling alliance do not fully support that option and not even a triumph in the elections could change their opinion. "If we win the Province it will be in spite of Alberto, not thanks to him," a source close to Massa and Cristina said. ‎

‎That internal debate was taking place when the First Lady's case broke out. Now, both parties linked to Massa and Kirchner have stated that Alberto's re-election entered a very serious, almost definitive crisis to the extent that there is already some speculation around the names of the former Minister of Economy and current Governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof and Sergio Massa, for the 2023 elections.

‎While there are officials who insist in public that the plan is for Fernández to run for a new term, the problem is that the main partners of the ruling alliance fail to support that option and not even a triumph in the elections would change their opinion. "If we win the Province, it is in spite of Alberto, not thanks to him," a person close to Massa and Cristina said, emphasizing that they had to take the lead in the campaign. They also clarified, of course, that a defeat would be the President's fault.‎

‎A paradoxical issue is that, in this context, persons linked to the President now say that if the Government wins in Buenos Aires, Cristina will feel empowered and might try to advance and gain positions in the cabinet.‎

‎The striking arguments regarding the President's claim that it might even be convenient for them not to win the election because it would weaken them internally and Alberto would have greater influence regarding the changes that the Government must necessarily face. ‎ 

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